History shows Giants' No. 2 pick could move quickly up to majors
From MLB Draft to San Francisco in a flash
SAN FRANCISCO — Giants officials have spent the past week discussing a flurry of roster moves. When should Madison Bumgarner return? How fast can they get Joe Panik back? Who should back him up when he returns? What will they do with Hunter Pence.
But hanging over all of this is a move that will end up shaping the franchise in a much more important way.
On Monday night, the Giants will take a college or prep star with the second pick in the MLB Draft. It’s tempting, when talking about baseball players, to view this as a selection for the 2021-and-beyond teams, but recent history tells a different story. The Giants are an organization with a distaste for even a partial rebuild, and if they play it right on Monday, they could potentially add a young star who can make it up to the big leagues just in time to team with this aging core.
Here’s a look at some of the recent No. 2 selections who shot through the minors…
Nick Senzel (Reds)
The second pick in the 2016 draft has already reached Triple-A after posting a .905 OPS across two levels last season. He’s playing second and third, and should reach Cincinnati this summer despite a case of vertigo that cost him minor league time this season. Senzel is the No. 7 prospect in the minors according to Baseball America.
Alex Bregman (Astros)
Taken out of LSU in 2015, Bregman hit two homers in the World Series just two years later, helping the Astros topple the Dodgers in seven games. Bregman made his debut July 25, 2016, barely a year after the draft, at the age of 22. He hit 19 homers in 2017, his first full year in the majors.
Kris Bryant (Cubs)
He represents the dream scenario. Drafted in 2013, Bryant was up in April of 2015, but the only reason he had to wait that long was because the Cubs claimed there were defensive issues. There were also service time issues, coincidentally. Bryant won the Rookie of the Year award two seasons after being drafted and was the MVP a year later. In his second full season, he led the Cubs to a World Series title.
Byron Buxton (Twins)
The top of this draft is said to be heavy on college standouts, but if the Giants find a prep star they love, there’s still a chance he could play alongside Posey, Crawford, Belt and the rest. Buxton was taken second overall in 2012 and made 46 appearances for the Twins three years later at the age of 21. He has struggled mightily to hit at the big league level, but is a Gold Glove center fielder and is still just 24 despite having over 1,000 big league plate appearances.
Alex Gordon (Royals)
Taken out of Nebraska in 2005, he hit 15 homers for the big league squad just two years later. The Giants surely hope their No. 2 pick becomes a Hall of Fame caliber player, but a guy like Gordon isn’t a bad alternative. He’s a three-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner who helped form the nucleus of a club that went to the World Series in back to back seasons.
Justin Verlander (Tigers)
Ahhh, the gold standard. Verlander was taken second overall out of Old Dominion in 2004 and posted a 1.29 ERA in Single-A and Double-A the next season. As a 22-year-old, he made his big league debut on July 4, 2005. He had only two rough starts in the majors that season, but in 2006 he made 30 starts and finished seventh in the Cy Young voting. You know the rest. The Giants have big-time pitching issues, and if they take a Casey Mize or Brady Singer, there’s a chance that pitcher could be up at some point next year and a fixture in the rotation the next season.